HoopsHype Macedonia rumors

November 18, 2013 Updates

Macedonian basketball fans were ordered to put out of sight Macedonian flags with the Vergina Sun during an NBA match, MKD.mk reports. The Macedonian fans were waiting for Macedonian basketball player Pero Antic, who currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks, to start playing in the match when they were ordered to take down the flags. The Vergina Sun is a politically charged solar symbol and presents a point of conflict mainly between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. It was discovered during archaeological excavations around the town of Vergina, in Macedonia [a geographic region of Greece], in the late 1970s. FOCUS Information Agency

October 4, 2011 Updates

Each national team in Europe is allowed a naturalized player and Lekic saw McCalebb as a key addition to a team that had been steadily improving for six years. "Usually you need to take a few months to check the personality, to check the qualities and character ... with Bo we were without worries," he said. "A few times we went out for coffee and colas and we were soon laughing at jokes; he was Macedonian after two weeks already," added Lekic. CNN.com

McCalebb spends a month each year training with the Macedonian national squad and admits to only knowing "the bad stuff" when it comes to speaking the language. It was a surprise to get a call from Lekic, he admits, but unconcerned by any culture shock (or loss of U.S. citizenship) he also saw the chance to represent Macedonia as a way to boost his own career. "I talked to a lot of older players and they said you can play longer with a (European) passport; I didn't even think about it, I just said yes." CNN.com

September 16, 2011 Updates

Lekic said some European countries paid non-Europeans large sums to play for their teams, but added that Macedonia could not afford to pay McCalebb. “Our annual budget for our entire federation is only 350,000 euros, which is like pocket change for some of the stars playing in this tournament,” Lekic said. New York Times

Lekic said that the team’s triumphs and McCalebb’s popularity had crossed ethnic and religious lines — no small feat in a country that experienced a brief but violent conflict between ethnic Albanian nationalists and the central government in 2001. “When we play, the entire country stops what they are doing,” he said. “Even our Albanian population is rooting for us, which is important for unifying us a country.” New York Times

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